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Hi, my name is Nyx!

Nyx Community member Posts: 1 Listener
need some advice on the mess that is my life...I have been married for 17 years and have a 5 year old with my ex. I left due to domestic violence and am disabled. I worked until I had my child but then became a SAHM&W. I am now in receipt of PIP, ESA (support group), UC and child benefit, child maintenance from my ex. I am currently divorcing my ex, we own a home together and I am currently renting a few hours away from where my owned home was. I have decided to remain in the area I am renting because it ensures a distance between where my ex lives and where I currently live, for safety reasons plus I don’t wish to further disrupt my child’s stability .
My ex attempted to secure full custody of our child, which in my opinion was an attempt to retain the house and punish me. I am barely making it now. My ex pays the minimum he gets away with and isn’t a hands on parent 
 I have filed for divorce, decree nisi has been granted and Form E’s have been exchanged. My ex has issued court proceedings on the subject of our finances and I have had the first court appearance , aided by a solicitor’s firm and barrister they instructed for me which is being paid by legal aid due to the domestic violence.  I was not aware that during the course of this court appearance that I would have to agree on the division assets, the amount and nature of the division. During the course of the appearance it was made implicitly clear by my barrister that if I provisionally accepted an offer that it was not legally binding,  due to the wording and because I was seeking further advice relating to my financial position. The judge refused to order a valuation of our home.
 I have now been told that this is not quite as straight forward, as his legal team may force me to hold true to the provisional agreement (they are notorious for being high conflict).  This is concerning for me. Is this true? If so, what steps can I take?
I am worried about the legal dispersement of these debts on several fronts. It has been suggested that my ex settles my debts directly (as you can imagine I have accured some due to moving, legal and living expenses), a small trust fund is set up for our child (I am thinking this is not sensible). I intend to use some of what is left to furnish my home, as I am currently just about managing with what I have been able to scrape together and purchase a modest newer vehicle than I have (mine is 10+ years old). The financial settlement will not be large by any means but is likely that the amount left over will exceed the savings limit for my means tested benefits (£16k) and therefore I will lose them. 
My health has declined due to the stress of this situation and obviously I am concerned how I am going to manage long term. I cannot anticipate what my health will do however I do know there is no cure to my multiple medical problems, so I would anticipate that I would be forced to claim benefits again at some point unfortunately, particularly as further health complications have recently arisen. I will admit that the reality of this is stressing me out, as I am attempting to reasonably anticipate how the dispersement of the settlement will affect any further claims.
I have been told by my legal team to go away and consider how I want the financial settlement...do I want my ex to pay the debts direct? do I want to set up a discretionary trust and if so how, how I want the rest of it? What is the best way foward, taking into consideration everything I have said? 
I am massively concerned about how the DWP will view this settlement, as it is not sufficient to purchase a home with and I have several debts consisting of family loans , legal debt ,  credit card debts but have been led to believe that the DWP will not accept my settling of these debts completely.
Is the paying of my debts considered a grey area by the DWP? Am I able to pay off my family loan (my dad is disabled, no partner, no further savings and is reliant on me paying him back)? If so, what evidence will they need?
Is there any point in setting up a trust (I am thinking no)? Paying a modest sum into my existing tiny pension?
What is the best way to do this? Any advice is greatly received.
Would the DWP argue I should not have discharged these debts, spent on a reasonable car or purchased normal things for my home upon a new claim? This is worrying me. 
Please help!!


  • Alex_Alumni
    Alex_Alumni Scope alumni Posts: 7,562 Disability Gamechanger
    Hello @Nyx and thanks for reaching out on the community today, we'd like to support you as much as we can with this, so keep an eye out from community@scope.org.uk a little later today.

    I'm so sorry to hear about what's been happening and the impact it's having on your mental health. It sounds like it's all very worrying for you. Thanks for being so open about things. It can be difficult to talk about, but often it's the first step to support and advice. 

    As Scope is a pan-disability charity I'm afraid legal advice isn't something we can offer, but in terms of help and support with benefits, Advice Local is a great place to search for help near to you. You might also like to read Scope's guidance on lump sums and benefits

    I'd also encourage you to reach out to Step Change Debt Charity, for any concerns you have around debts and for advice around finances.

    For help with furnishing your home, Turn2Us has advice on where you can get assistance with the cost of white goods and other household items, which I hope is useful for you.

    Well done again for reaching out, and remember you aren't alone in this, there's always someone there to listen and offer support. Let us know if you feel we can support you further with anything, and take care this evening. 

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